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Page: February 2008 Vanuatu travel news - Vanuatu Tourist Arrivals - Air Vanuatu new plane

The Travel Bug 36

Issue 36 - February 2008

Vanuatu Increase in Tourists Arrivals

Vanuatu has recorded a 19 percent increase in tourists arrivals last year compared to the year before. The country has become more accessible as there are now more flights on offer, and it has also been advertising in its key markets. Annie Naitu from the National Tourism Office says Vanuatu has had a record high in tourist arrivals last year. “The total arrival was 81,345. That’s an increase of at least 19.3 percent.

Overall, there’s been an increase from Australia of 9 percent, the US market with 8.5 percent and Japan 8 percent. From New Zealand, there’s been an increase by 2.4 percent.” She also added that 62 percent of the visitors to Vanuatu are from Australia, while New Caledonia and New Zealand both contribute about 12 percent. (Source: Radio New Zealand International News 05 February 2008)

India - Fast Growing Tourism Market members are invited to be part of the inaugural South Pacific delegation to the emerging market of India. Both Air New Zealand and Air Pacific take delivery of their new B787 Dreamliner aircraft at the end of the decade. Both have noted this gives them the ability to fly non-stop from the SubContinent to the South Pacific for the first time. India is one of the world’s fastest growing tourism markets – New Zealand for example recorded a 30 percent increase in visitors in 2007. A prospectus is now available to participate in the Pacific Village at PATAMART, Hyderabad, September 16/19 2008. The event will feature buyers from all over the world, including a strong showing from the host country. For those looking for added value, there is also an opportunity for guided sales calls in Singapore en route to India under the Singapore Starter Pack. Contact for a prospectus.

Surf’s Up In Solomons Islands

Surfers are giving a welcome boost to tourism numbers and businesses in the Solomon Islands. “I have three groups this month and am getting more enquiries all the time,” says Grant Griffiths, who developed and operates the popular Fatboys resort. This is on Babanga Island, a 10-minute outboard-powered boat ride from Gizo, the Western Province capital. One of the main people steering them to the Solomon Islands is Australian travel operator Nick Blanche. His Go Tours and Surf The Earth ( specializes in surf safaris. Blanche;s team calls the Solomons “the last frontier for uncrowded surf breaks”. He also sends surfers to Maravagi Resort in the Florida Islands. This is across Iron Bottom Sound from the capital, Honiara, and is the closest surf resort to Honiara International Airport. (Source: Island Business)

Air Vanuatu New Plane

Tourism operators in Vanuatu are hoping the national airline’s new plane will help the industry continue to grow. Air Vanuatu has upgraded its 10-year old Boeing 737-300 to a 737-800, which has more than an additional 40 seats, and will begin flying on February 1st. The marketing manager for the Vanuatu Tourism Office, Annie Niatu, says with the new plane flying to both Port Vila and Santo, more local people will benefit from tourism. “The hotel industry is going to benefit if there’s more people coming in to Vanuatu. Then we are hoping that more visitors are also able to travel to the outer islands wihich is where the rural areas are. With Air Vanuatu flying to Santo this is where we see more visitors going to the outer islands.” Annie Niatu says there will need to be more marketing and promotion to make sure the airline is running at capacity. (Source: Radio New Zealand International News 24 January 2008)

Coffee Making Training Package in Port Villa

Following the success of the country’s first ever international Barista (coffee making) competition held at Poppys on the Lagoon, a special set of training CD’s has been created and donated to the Vanuatu Hospitality Tourism & Leisure Training Centre. Training Centre Manager of Vanuatu’s Hospitality training college, Richard Ierongen and Chairman of the Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association, Mr Tony Burns celebrated the donation of the CD set at the national institute. The CD collection shows how to prepare for one of the many international competitions held around the world and also how to bring out the competitors creative side in “Latte Art”. “We are really happy with this gift, our thanks go to the VHRA and the sponsors of the Vanuatu Barista competition, Mr Rob Forsyth and his family in Australia and the AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association for their support” said Vanuatu training centre Manager, Mr Richard Ierongen.

Tony Burns of the VHRA agreed and offered continued support on behalf of the hotels and resorts association: “We now have the best cafes in the South Pacific.. a big claim but justified! Vanuatu was the first country to hold an international Barista competition in the south pacific and we have continued to support the interest in perfect coffee making with our national training institute and these training CD’s.” The VHRA has already formed a sub committee of active members to facilitate the next Barista competition to be held in October later this year. The AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association has already pledged support to the annual event and the ANZ bank of Port Vila has agreed to provide ongoing web site support to ensure the competition gathers world interest and international Barista competitors. (Source: Poppys on the Lagoon 30 January 2008)

Air New Zealand - World's Best in Passenger Service

Air New Zealand has been judged as having the world's best passenger service in the prestigious Air Transport World magazine awards. Air Transport World magazine is one of the leading aviation publications globally and has been running its annual awards for more than 30 years. The awards are coveted by airlines with the Passenger Service Award one of the most valued, recognising an airline that has been "innovative and consistently superior in providing outstanding quality passenger service at a fair price". In announcing the award, Air Transport World Editorial Director and Associate Publisher Perry Flint cited Air New Zealand staff and ongoing product development as critical elements to its success.

"Air New Zealand's customer service staff are known for their warmth and cheeriness and they are empowered to go the extra mile for their passengers”. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe says the award is justified recognition for the hard work Air New Zealand staff have put in the over the last few years. He adds "In 2005 the ATW recognized us with the Phoenix Award for our turn-around success. At the time we said we intended to offer the most complete, innovative and uniquely Kiwi experience possible in an effort to exceed customer expectations on every flight. To now be judged as having the finest service in the world reflects extremely well on the continual efforts made by the business to be the best. That intention has become a reality and our 10,975 staff should be extremely proud of that fact.” (Source: Air New Zealand Media Release 29 January 2008)

Vanuatu Tourism Website is Proving Popular

More and more people are logging onto compared to the past years according to a Vanuatu Tourism Website report. The rise in traffic flow and number of hits shows a promising future for the site as the main visitor driver for Vanuatu. According to the report, the total number of pages viewed jumped from 4,650,452 in 2006 to 5,615,316 in 2007 which is an 18 percent increase. Average hits per day throughout the website recorded a 42 percent increase with 71,186.15 hits per day in 2007 compared to 49,902.77 hits per day in 2006. Google drives half of the Top 10 referrals and 60 percent of the Top 10 Search Engines to is the first on the Search Engines when you search for ‘vanuatu’ and the top 3 keywords that drove traffic to the site were ‘vanuatu’, ‘tanna’, and ‘tourism’. (Source: Vanuatu Tourism Website Report Summary)

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